Lori McKenna Unglamorous

Straight out of The Coal Miners Daughter, mother of five Lori McKenna suddenly finds her home-written songs being performed by Faith Hill and bam, her recording career is off like a shot. This release is her fifth, but a first with major distribution. There are some instances where the lush production of the now well-funded project seems a bit over the top and overall, it features the familiar sound of well-crafted pop country, but the songwriting sets it apart. The songs exude simplicity and creativity in equal measure, a mix of the autobiographical and the invented, with tales of love, loss and all the complications of life. All are accompanied by McKenna’s powerfully unassuming voice, which is pretty but in an approachable, conversational kind of way. The simpler tunes stick with you, especially "Your Next Lover,” which showcases her words and direct delivery. It’s a series of simple and truthful statements summed up by title track’s chorus: "No frills, no fuss. Perfectly us. Unglamorous.” This is so wonderfully unglamorous that each song rings in the heart as well as the ears. (Warner)